Carrying the South Nags Head Beach Chair Drill Team Banner. It was a windy day.

There is nothing quite like the Annual Mike Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Nags Head. Part parade and a lot of insanity, it seems to epitomize the Outer Banks spirit of organized (barely) mayhem.

The 2018 version was the 29th time the Spirit of the Irish have paraded along the Beach Road in Nags Head, and this might have been one of the nicest yet.

It was a bit bittersweet though. 

The Parade Marshall this year was the Grand Poobah Ernie Bridgers—which to most people doesn’t mean much, but it was Ernie who brought the world the South Nags Head White Trash Marching and Beach Chair Drill Team.

If ever there was a band of friends who truly represented what the Kelly’s St. Patty’s Day Parade was all about, the SNHWTMB&BCDT. They march to the beat of the drummers pounding to a rhythm on trash cans; they actually do precision drills—in a manner of speaking—with beach chairs…and it has always been one of the highlights of the parade.

Last year the Drill Team was conspicuous by its absence and it may have been that Ernie was ill. He passed away this past year, but his memory certainly lingers. Every member of the SNHWTMB&BCDT marched with an image of Ernie on a paddle.

It was a great way to remember how much joy some of the simple things around us can bring—a beach chair, a trash can and a little imagination is all it takes.